STANDARD Life Investments (SLI) veteran Euan Munro has left the Edinburgh-based fund manager to become chief executive at Aviva Investors.
In a surprise move, which was announced to SLI staff on Friday morning, Munro will take the helm at the asset manager, part of the group that owns the former General Accident and Norwich Union businesses.
His departure is understood to have stunned many staff at SLI, although Aviva Investors has some £274 billion of assets under management, compared with SLI’s £168bn, indicating that the move represents a major promotion for the 43-year-old fund manager.
Munro joined life insurance and pensions giant Standard Life from Scottish Provident in 1995 and transferred to SLI when it was launched in 1998.
He set up the firm’s flagship global absolute return strategy (Gars) fund, hailed by Aviva as “one of the most-successful and best-performing multi-asset funds globally”.
Munro will be replaced as head of multi-asset and macro investing by Guy Stern, who he recruited in 2008.
Stern, who is understood to have already been managing a team of 32 staff, will take a seat on SLI’s executive board.
Keith Skeoch, chief executive at SLI, said his firm’s structure would help it to absorb Munro’s departure. He said: “I would like to thank him for his contribution to the business and wish him every success in the future. Our team-based culture means that SLI is able to implement these changes with immediate effect with minimal disruption.”
Munro will take over as head of Aviva Investors in January and will sit on the wider Aviva group executive committee. Previous boss Alain Dromer left in April 2012 as part of a boardroom shake-up that came shortly after the appointment of Scots-born John McFarlane as chairman.
Head of investments Paul Abberley initially took over as interim chief executive but was replaced as temporary boss by John Misselbrook in June.
Mark Wilson, group chief executive at Aviva, said: “This is an important appointment for Aviva. Euan’s track record in fixed-income and multi-asset management, and his experience in an insurance environment, made him the outstanding candidate.
“There is significant scope to improve the profitability of Aviva Investors, a core part of the group. Euan will play a pivotal role helping Aviva Investors capitalise on its expertise managing Aviva’s own funds, become a stronger third-party manager and increase its contribution to the group.”
Munro added: “I am joining Aviva because I see a clear opportunity to unlock the potential of Aviva Investors, a well-established business with impressive scale and significant investment talent.
“Aviva Investors’ proven investment capability means that it is well placed to meet the growing demands from the institutional market for income with low volatility.”
Aviva declined to comment on Munro’s salary in his new role.
McFarlane has overseen a series of management changes since taking over as Aviva chairman in September 2011. He became executive chairman for several months following the departure of chief executive Andrew Moss, who was ousted following a shareholder rebellion over executive pay and the performance of the insurance giant. Wilson succeeded Moss in January.